At 5 am last Thursday, I awoke to begin yet another fun-filled portfolio adventure. I started up my loaded-up car and headed to Sean’s house. Once Sean was situated and riding shotgun, we headed out on the road for New York City.
Our first stop was the international advertising powerhouse Ogilvy & Mather. A few of Ogilvy’s most notable clients and campaigns include American Express (whose campaign featured celebrities such as Robert DeNiro, Wes Anderson, and Martin Scorsese), Kodak, Ford, and Coca-Cola. We set up in an open area near the elevators, which made for some great traffic. After laying out breakfast treats, orange juice, and coffee, we put around 20 portfolios out for display. Our Ogilvy art buyer contact had asked for a wide variety of styles and locations, so we brought what we believed to be a good mix for their agency.
The turnout at Ogilvy was great, with around 35 creatives making their way through, grabbing coffee, and flipping through books. We got a lot of great feedback, not just on books but on Wonderful Machine as well. Two creatives stopped by just to remark how much they love our roster and state that Wonderful Machine is definitely on their radar. All of the books were looked through, with a good number getting individualized attention. Our fall mailers, featuring the work of Sophie Pangrazzi, were very popular—almost all of them were scooped up. Ramin Rahimian‘s book was also a big hit.
Wonderful Machine newcomer Roberto Westbrook’s portfolio was certainly a winner. One creative deemed his work “lovely.” Adam Voorhes’s 3D leave-behinds were well-liked (we saw many creatives playing with them), and his book was described as “cool.” Aaron Kotowski’s baby portraits had some creatives oohing and aahing about how cute they were. Nick Hall’s editorial book garnered lots of attention, with one person stating it was “amazing.” All in all, all the books were well received, and we even had some of Nick Nacca’s prints spirited away.
After things started to quiet down at Ogilvy, Sean and I took a moment to enjoy their British red telephone box and their interesting view of the city. Then we packed up and headed for lunch. (Thanks to New York traffic, getting to lunch took longer than expected.)
Once we were satisfied and reenergized by some delicious Indian cuisine, we headed to our next meeting at Merkley + Partners, an ad firm whose clients include Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Ferrero Rocher, and more. As we sat in reception waiting for our contact, we watched some of their interesting commercials and took photos of each other by their logo.
This was a much quieter meeting with just two Merkley art buyers in attendance, which gave us the chance to have a more in-depth conversation and talk at length about our photographers and Wonderful Machine. The four of us sat around a small round table and passed nine books back and forth, and they carefully examined each one. As they looked, we let them know more about the photographer whose book they were seeing.
Clark Vandergrift’s book stood out since they remembered receiving his Tree People promos. They also particularly liked Gabriela Hasbun’s style and work. One of the art buyers was also very interested in our stock request services and said we would be hearing from her on that front. Once we’d gone through all the books and answered all their questions (and given away a Wonderful Machine tee), we packed up and walked the half-mile to our next and last meeting of the day—at Anomaly.
Anomaly is a relatively new (founded in 2004) new-model marketing communications firm/ad agency with offices in both New York and London. As we walked into their New York office, we were taken aback by how fun and inviting their environment was. We saw people kicking a soccer ball, groups of creatives concepting, bright colors, wood floors, and a modern kitchen equipped with mini cheesecakes.
Anomaly has one art buyer, Sarah, and that’s exactly who we met with. We laid out around seven books and went through each one carefully with Sarah. She was interested in learning the background of each photographer and picked Anthony Georgis, Tamar Levine, and Gabriela Hasbun as her favorites from the group. She also said she’d be bookmarking Wonderful Machine for future reference.
Our meeting at Anomaly was short but sweet. We bid Sarah adieu, eyed the cheesecake one more time, and headed to the elevators. After walking back to the car, packing up, and fighting through traffic, we reflected on the reviews. It had been a long yet rewarding day. We got the Wonderful Machine name out, and over 20 specific photographers were promoted. We said goodbye to New York, one of our favorite places to visit, and drove back to home base to prepare for our next portfolio adventure.